Rusalka - a homemade hovercraft

The Rusalka is an experimental hovercraft, designed to be used by a person weighing around 50kg, to be transported without a trailer (the hull is foldable) and to be wallet-friendly. If you ever build a homemade hovercraft, please read our safety disclaimer first.

More pictures and more explainations will be added over time.

After the shooting of these videos, the Rusalka was improved on several points: balancing, changing the propellers and changing their inclination for greater power, as well as the modification of the pilot's seat which was rudimentary.


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The hull of the Rusalka consists of nine panels of extruded polystyrene, covered with black polypropylene plates.

These plates are joined together with white banners (canvas advertisings) recovered thanks to a local pharmacist. They allow the hull to be easily folded up: three panels can be folded up together, which gives three groups of three panels, to allow easy transport.

To setup the hovercraft and to get rigidity, these three groups of three plates are unfolded and assembled with straps and clamps as you see on the picture : three in the direction of the width, and two diagonals. To gain even more rigidity, the assembly will be completed with two iron bars to the right and to the left of the hovercraft - they can be seen on the videos above.

At the rear are the air intakes, in front of which the motors are positioned.




Here are the templates for the cutout of the hovercraft skirt. You can find here the method to create skirt templates.

Both engines are Briggs and Stratton with a power of 6.5 horsepower equipped with an electric starter. Here are some photos at different stages of the assembly.

This engine is now almost ready to go. It is equipped with a set of polypropylene panels which have two functions :

  • redirecting part of the air flow downwards - this air will be captured by the air intakes you saw earlier

  • ensure the direction of the hovercraft by a system of flaps, interconnected by small cables - it is also possible to completely close the air outlet so that the hovercraft remains static

The Rusalka can be transported with a small car on on the top of another hovercraft.

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